08 October, 2012
More than a quarter (28%) of UK employees believe there is
less stigma associated with mental health issues in the
workplace than a year ago, according to new research1 by
Aviva released ahead of World Mental Health Day (10 October
An increase in awareness and understanding of mental health
issues at work mirrors the steady increase in the numbers
of UK employees claiming for psychiatric disorders on both
income protection and private medical insurance policies.
In 2011, conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety
were the biggest cause for claim on Aviva's Income
Protection Solutions cover for both individual and
corporate customers, with almost a third (28%) of both men
and women claiming for such conditions.
However, while employees are generally feeling less stigma
in the workplace, a third (35%) still feel that mental
health remains a 'taboo' subject that is seldom talked
about. Over half of employees (56%) think that physical
illness will always carry less stigma than mental health.
Of those who feel that stigma has decreased, around half
(48%) of employees attribute this to a better understanding
of mental health amongst peers and colleagues. Over a third
(36%) of employees say that TV and press campaigns, such as
Mind's 'Time to Change' campaign, have helped remove the
stigma associated with mental health problems. More than a
quarter (28%) believe that celebrities talking openly about
their mental health has created awareness and
understanding, while 23% of employees believe that the
Government's mental health strategy has helped.
Claims data from Aviva shows that the average age at which
employees begin an income protection claim for a mental
health condition is 43 and the average time in claim for
such a condition is nine years. Of the income
protection claims made in 2011 for psychiatric conditions,
moderate depression was most common (28%), followed by
anxiety (15%) and stress (12%).
The Aviva research also reveals that employers are now much
more aware of the extent to which their workforce is
affected by mental health problems. Encouragingly, the
number one health initiative that employers would like to
implement is more support for employees with mental health
Dr Doug Wright, medical director for Aviva, UK Health,
says: "It's good to see that employees are beginning to
feel less stigma at work concerning mental health issues,
and that many employers have more understanding and want to
offer support. As very few employees say they would confide
in their employer about a mental health condition, it's
important that managers are able to spot the signs of
problems and have the right support in place.
"Mental health is high on the agenda for both employees and
employers in the UK. Employers have a vital role in helping
to support those who are suffering from depression, anxiety
or other psychiatric conditions. There are many companies
who offer no support at all to such employees, but equally
we are seeing more and more companies starting to provide
support and running training and awareness campaigns."
1 Aviva's Health of the Workplace 2012 report. The report
is an annual research study of 1,000 UK employers and 1,000
employees examining workplace wellbeing and the current
issues affecting companies and their staff. The research
was conducted by independent research company One Poll in
If you are a journalist and would like further information,
Melissa Loughran - Aviva Press Office
Telephone: +44 (0)1904 452791
Mobile: +44 (0)7800 691947
Notes to editors:
Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products
to 43 million customers worldwide.
We are the UK's largest insurer with over 14 million
customers and one of Europe's leading providers of life and
general insurance. We combine strong life insurance,
general insurance and asset management businesses under one
powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers
well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business,
which makes a positive contribution to society, and for
which our people are proud to work.
We are ranked as one of the UK's top 10 most valuable
brands and Aviva plc is in the top 10% of socially
responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones
Sustainability World Index. In 2011 we invested £5.3
million into our UK communities. One in three of our
employees were involved in community investment activities
which included giving nearly 33,000 hours.
Aviva is working in partnership with Railway Children
through the Aviva Street to School programme to get
children living or working on UK streets back into everyday
life. Find out more at www.aviva.co.uk/street-to-school.
The Aviva media centre at www.aviva.com/media
includes company information and a news release archive.